Now THIS is a Pinot Noir! Kudos to this winemaker. It is nice to know that one can still be surprised after having tried hundreds of different examples of this varietal. This vintage is something truly extra special in the glass.
Straight out of the gate and a couple of brisk swirls in my Riedel stem of this racy vintage and I am gushing. Immediately, a perfume of wild funghi, strawberries, sour cherries and even a slight nose of camphor jump into my sinuses and fill my head with delight. No time needed to open up for this horse.
My head begins to buzz and I ‘regale’ as the first sips bring on flavors so brilliant and ethereal. A subtle detection of eucalyptus peeks through the bright fruit flavors. The wine is big for a pinot because of the earth like notes but not overly acidic as some Burgundy’s can be. Very polished but not silky. No this wine is a cross somewhere between where the smooth attributes from the Russian River Valley align with the herbal, salty-misty air of the Pacific-Sonoma coastline, but a slight touch of the Santa Maria Valley is added in there somewhere… I think that is where I pick up the notes of strawberry and mushrooms from.
Paired with a dish of fusilli pasta mixed with roasted eggplant, roasted sun dried tomatoes in olive oil and italian herbs, sliced black olives, sauteed zucchini, sweet onion & baby portobella mushrooms, pureed tomato sauce and fresh parmesan grated cheese, the dish tastes better and harmoniously bring out the wild pinot tastes.
The biggest compliment of all is that I damn near finished the entire bottle myself over a couple of hours and I can still type straight.
Why have I never heard of this winery before and when can I buy more?! Well done Dave. Thank you.
Seth P. (freelance blogger for Dave the Wine Merchant) Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
[Note: Seth Pariser is a member of the “Pinot Selections” wine club, and submitted this review independently. Among other things, Seth consults with wine collectors in the Northeast to help them build or maximize the value of their cellars. To contact him, just leave a request in the comment section. Oh, and more of this wine is available here. Dave]
First pour: I like the cloudy, almost opaque ruby color. It reminds me of a 1970 Burgundy I enjoyed last Summer at a pals 40th birthday dinner. Right away, you know this wine has not gone through any filtration process and will probably be loaded with some interesting flavor. This is exciting… Give a few swirls in the glass and I get a nose that gives an intense aroma of mushrooms, cherries & earth. I also feel the 14.2% go deep into my sinuses as the heat packs a punch!
Okay, first sip, here we go…
Profile: initially this juice is wound pretty tight. She doesn’t want to reveal her inner beauty just yet. She’s being coy and toying with me and I think she is enjoying it. I would be curious to hear how Miles would rate this one so far. There is some bright underlying fruit waiting to be exposed but I could either wait, or break out the Vinturi.
5 minutes later and I break out the Vinturi and she is suddenly loosening her womanly grip and undoing 1 or 2 buttons on her blouse and giving me a little wink. The fruit is softening and revealing some baked cherry pie with good baking spices mixed with a fine dose of acidity.
I let it sit for 5-10 minutes and the sediments have gone down back to the bottom of the glass. Give a few swirls and now this is beginning to evolve and reveal its sexy profile a little better. What I love about this Pinot is this is a true Anderson Valley/Central Coast of Cali Pinot Noir. While the Willamette Valley Pinots of today are the latest rage and yes they are good, this is what Oregon wines won’t ever be according to me…big fruit forward bombs driven with hints of Burgundy land. I find the NorthEast wines still somewhat to be a little tinny and thin and though there are some exceptions, they require a patient Pinot enthusiast to extract what is not so obvious. The rewards with Elke Vineyards are more immediate, decisive and just delicious. In some familiar wise words, “the flavors are haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle”. On a side note, why more Pinots are not unfined and unfiltered is a shame and a mystery to me.
3 hours later… This wine is really nice. Still having all of the above attributes but the cheeks have turned flush and now it is sexy time!
Well done Dave. I’ve enjoyed this drink, as well as writing it up!
This famed wine vineyard in the country has once again flexed its muscles in showing why this special cultivated land with its geographic proximity to the Pacific and ideal climate with its cool foggy nights and sun kissed days blesses these vines.
Jeff Wilkes has taken these grapes and brought them back to his Santa Maria Valley wine making home and gotten a tremendous profile from this vintage.
Immediately, I get a nose full of the Central Coast with notes of bright, semi-sour and acidic raspberry-rhubarb compote with good concentration, balance and minerality. From its bottle age, there is a cloudiness that is only achieved through patience of time. Possessing a deep ruby color, this wine holds up strong with a long finish on the back palette that does not disipate for many seconds.